RacewalkersCompetitive walkers who use the Olympic racewalk form. While some may adopt it for the maximum workout it provides, most are interested in racing and competition. Racewalkers can generally walk a mile in 10 minutes or less. True racewalking events are judged and participants must be careful to maintain their form.
How to Racewalk
PowerwalkersPowerwalkers walk fast and/or use weights for a workout while walking. They may enter competitive walking events, but generally have not adopted the Olympic racewalking form. Powerwalkers may use hand weights or ankle weights to increase their workout. I do not recommend using weights while walking.
Better Ideas than Walking with Weights
How to Walk Faster
Fitness WalkersFitness walkers may walk either fast or slow, but they walk with the goal of improving their health and fitness. Folks who walk to lose weight or maintain weight need not walk fast to achieve that goal, as calories burned depend only on how far you walk and how much you weigh, not the time it takes you to go that distance. Many folks who walk around the neighborhood a few nights a week fall into this category. Some fitness walkers may participate in racing events, but generally would be mostly attracted to fun walks, charity walks and volksmarches rather than competition.
SpeedwalkersFolks who walk fast without using weights and without using the Olympic racewalking form. They may enter competitions, but not judged racewalking events.
How to Walk Faster
VolkswalkersThis group participates in organized, non-competitive walking events hosted by local AVA/IVV walking clubs. At each 10K walk they earn credit towards milestone awards. I am presently at about 1100 events and over 12,000 kilometers, for example. I will have "circled the earth" eventually! Volkswalkers may walk as fast or as slow as they want but are not racers. They set personal goals to walk in all 50 states or all the nations of Europe, etc.
Going on a Volksmarch
HikersA walk turns into a hike when you go off the pavement and into the woods, desert, or other natural area.
How to Hike
BackpackersBackpackers go out on multi-day hikes, carrying enough gear to eat and sleep along the way.
TrekkersTrekking is similar to backpacking, although generally thought to apply to walking/hiking multi-day trips outside the USA, such as Himalaya trekking.
BushwalkersBushwalking is hiking or backpacking in the bush, generally in Alaska, Australia or Africa. There is a Confederation of Bushwalking Clubs in New South Wales, Australia with 65 member clubs.
Orienteers and RogainersOrienteering is a sport in which orienteers use an accurate, detailed map and a compass to find points in the landscape. It can be enjoyed as a walk in the woods or as a competitive sport. See the International Orienteering Federation. Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation in which teams of two to five members visit as many checkpoints as possible in twenty-four hours. Teams travel entirely on foot, navigating by map and compass between checkpoints in terrain that varies from open farmland to hilly forest.
Letterboxers and GeocachersIn each of these sports, the walkers are looking for a hidden cache. Letterboxers are led to it by clues. Letterboxing clues may include puzzles which must be solved, compass coordinates, directions and paces to be followed. Geocachers are led by GPS units. The letterboxers leave a personal stamp in the book inside the cache. Geocachers take an object and leave one of their own.
Letterboxing and Geocaching